Edwards starred, coached track at Texas seven-plus decades ago
Perhaps the highest praise of Charles Buren Edwards, the oldest living University of Texas letterman, comes from someone who never competed against him on the track, coached against him, worked with him or went to school with him.
The affirmation of the congenial nature of Edwards came from the late Will Rogers.
You, of course, recall that Rogers said that he never met a man he didn't like.
"Mr. Rogers met my dad when he was working in a boarding house while he was going to Texas," said Findlay Edwards, the son of the 97-year-old Charles Buren Edwards who lives in Hobbs, N.M., and until he turned 85 was playing golf daily.
"There were no scholarships in those times," said Findlay, who is a civil engineering professor at the University of Arkansas. "Dad was on the mile relay team, along with running the hurdles and doing the high jump. He also ran cross country during his days at Texas."
Charles Buren Edwards also went by CB, Ed, and Lefty when he matriculated on the Forty Acres from 1932-35.
"Buren Edwards was his given name at Texas," Findlay said.
The elder Edwards was born in Bowie, Texas, in 1910 and grew up in Big Spring where he lettered in football, basketball and track.
"Dad set the record for the high hurdles in a 1929 district meet in Abilene," his son reported. "Then they lowered the height of the high hurdles 10 years later so, technically, he still holds the record."
Buren left the state for Lawrence, Kan., to run track and study business at the University of Kansas.
Not for long, however.
"I always remember Dad saying of his Kansas experience, 'The people were colder than the weather,'" Findlay said, with a laugh.
Buren Edwards was the captain of the Texas track and cross country teams under coach Clyde Littlefield.
"Dad was on the mile relay team that set a number of records, including one at the Kansas Relays that stood for 14 years," Findlay said. "He talked about success at the Drake Relays and at UCLA, also."
After graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in business and physical education, Edwards remained at his alma mater as an assistant to Littlefield.
"Dad actually coached the track team, since Littlefield was coaching football at the time," Findlay said. "Dad stayed about a year or two."
Edwards went to work for Humble Oil in Crane, Texas, and after a stint in the Navy returned to Humble Oil until 1973.
"Dad came to reunions (at UT) and he and Clyde stayed in touch for a long time," Findlay said. "Dad had four children, so there wasn't a lot of time for coming back to Texas. When he did come back, he did not bring his children. That was his time with the boys."
And while Edwards' time in Austin shrank as the years went by, Findlay said his Dad keeps his affection for the school.
"Dad told me," Findlay began, "that coming to Texas was the best move he ever made in his life."